Power plants dump pollution into our water, but that could soon change
Patricia Schuba of Missouri. (Matt Roth)
Earlier this summer, I was talking to a colleague and friend in Missouri, Patricia Schuba. She lives only a few miles from the Show Me State’s biggest coal-fired power plant, Ameren Corporation’s Labadie Power Station.
She was preparing to come to Washington to testify before the EPA on a proposal to clean up toxic water pollution from power plants. But before she got on the plane, she had a meeting to attend in St. Louis where Ameren was proposing to build another 1,100-acre coal ash pond directly in the floodplain of the Missouri River.
“It never ends here in Missouri,” she said. “If they try and build another coal ash dump, we’re going to fight back. That’s something they don’t seem to understand. We’re never going to give up.”
Nearly 50,000 of you aren’t giving up either.
You’ve told the EPA to clean up power plant water pollution, and we cannot thank you enough. In May, the agency proposed a series of options for cleaning up the billions of pounds of arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxic pollutants that power plants dump every year into our waters. For more than 30 years, this industry was given a free pass to pollute, making it the largest source of toxic water pollution in the country. If EPA does the right thing, water pollution from power plants could be drastically reduced.
But the opportunity for us to tell the EPA to clean up power plant water pollution is coming to an end.
In July, Patricia and I marched with 200 other activists from all over the country into EPA headquarters, demanding the strongest protections from this pollution. Later that month, we joined Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Integrity Project to produce a comprehensive report on the problems of power plant water pollution, offering up 20 case studies where waters were already being polluted, including the plant in Patricia’s backyard. Communities across the nation held local rallies and events to generate interest in the EPA’s plan and get people sending messages that enough is enough: power plants need to clean up their act!
On Sept. 20, the EPA will close its public comment period for this important rulemaking. We’re well on our way to generate more than 150,000 comments demanding clean water and limits to power plant pollution.
But we can never have too much. There’s still time left. Take a moment to tell the EPA why clean water is important to you, why cleaning up toxic water pollution from power plants needs to happen now. No matter what the challenge, Patricia and I never give up, and we know you won’t either. That’s our greatest strength, and it’s one the polluters will never understand.